Hospice Care

Hospice care is a part of palliative care that was developed as a philosophy of caring for dying individuals. According to the National Hospice Association, the focus is on compassionate, quality care at the end-of-life. Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach that includes expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support that is tailored especially to the dying person’s needs and wishes. Support is also extended to the dying person’s loved ones. Central to hospice care is the belief that every individual has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

 Hospice care concentrates on caring not curing and. In most cases, it is provided in the home of the terminally ill person, but it may also be provided in freestanding hospice facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and assisted living communities. Hospice services are available to persons of any age, religion, race, or illness. 

​Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers cover hospice care if eligibility requirements are met. A patient is eligible if a physician determines that the patient has six months or less to live if the terminal illness runs its normal course. Patients must be re-assessed for eligibility at regular intervals, but there is no limit on the amount of time a patient can then spend under hospice care.

​A person’s physician, other health care professionals, family members, friends or clergy may recommend hospice care. Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill person. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the ill person and to provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

​The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each terminally ill person’s need for physical, psychosocial, and spiritual comfort and support. This plan outlines the medical and supportive services an individual requires such as nursing care, personal care (dressing, bathing, etc.) dietary and social services, physician visits, counseling and homemaker services. The plan is adjusted as a person’s condition changes. 

​A Typical Hospice Team 

A personal physician 

A hospice physician or medical director 


Home health aides 
​Social workers
Clergy or other counselors
Trained volunteers
​Speech, physical and occupational therapists, when needed.